California Catholic Daily reporter, Mary Rose, visits a California college each week and asks students about God, good, and evil. Interview with Charm, who is studying business administration, by the library at Grossmont College in El Cajon on November 19, 2019.
Do you consider yourself religious?
Charm: A little bit. I tend to believe, as a Buddhist, in this hope of once we are gone, we start off a new life as something else. That’s what I partially believe. I don’t go full on Buddhism. There is part of Buddhism that kind of ties into Hinduism where, if you are extremely Hindu, you believe everything has a life and soul so you try your best not to kill anything. I follow that belief as well, but if something annoys me, like an insect, I will get it out of my way as best I can. Buddhists believe in the concept of purest life in which their goal is to reach peace. They want to live their life and live it well. Basically, their whole belief is we all live to die. All I know is, a monk was sitting under a tree and he was meditating for a long long time thinking about what is the purpose of life. It came to his mind that the purpose of life is to live life and die. There is no other reason for being. That’s it.
What is living well and how is it different from living poorly?
Charm: That’s up to the person. If taking a whole ton of drugs is living well, then that’s up to them. If having a nonchalant life is living well, then so be it.
Do you believe some things are objectively wrong?
Charm: Oh yeah, if you kill a person out of context, that’s objectively wrong. But if you kill a person to defend yourself, I believe that’s objectively right.
What about someone who commits a school shooting and thinks it’s the right thing to do? Is it up to them or is it objectively wrong?
Charm: Since our society has evolved so many times, we all believe that it’s wrong. To that individual, what they believe is some different power that’s out of our view. So, to not sound very wrong, what they believe is right, the vast majority of us believe is wrong.
Do you believe that what’s objectively wrong depends on what most people think?
Charm: I do believe that it’s all mentality. Because what you think is wrong may not be wrong to me. What I think is right, you may not think is right.
Why do we call things right and wrong if to another person it might be different? Why does it matter what’s right and wrong?
Charm: To have something to believe in, because we all need a little faith. To have faith in something is to have faith in something. There’s nothing else I can really say about that. It’s just, when there’s nothing else to look up to, what do you look up to?
What do you think about abortion?
Charm: I tend not to think about matters like this but, to keep it short, I really don’t care. Just out of context, I don’t care. It’s just not my part. I don’t really talk about stuff like that.
If you were faced with a vote on a ballot to either ban all abortions or remove all restrictions on abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, which way would you vote?
Charm: I would say no abortion. But, if you take away something there’s always going to be an alternative. Even if I say no, there’s always going to be some people who go for it anyways. There’s always a black market for these things, just like the Prohibition.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
Charm: I tend to think I believe in an afterlife. Whether it be as simple as like I just float around in space or I float around down below, I hope there’s an afterlife. I don’t want to be underneath the grave just with my eyes closed sleeping for eternity. That doesn’t sound happy. So yeah, I kind of believe in the afterlife. Picture what it looks like – I can’t do that. I just hope it’s nice looking.
How do you believe the world came to be?
Charm: I’m a man of logic and reason. I believe the Big Bang. Where did the original energy for the Big Bang come from? It came from some magic, I don’t know.
If you enjoyed this story, consider making a donation to support Mary Rose and the Inquiring Minds column, so that we can continue to provide this insight into the religious beliefs of California college students. You can do so by visiting our Donation Page.